How to Build Self-Discipline: Part 4 – Tips and Tricks

In the last three posts, I defined self-discipline, explained the role of habits, and provided a short framework for creating habits that last. In this post, I’ll share some tips, tricks, and resources that will increase your likelihood of success. Get Help from Others We are often more comfortable when we know that we have someone on our side rooting for us. If you’re looking for support and an opportunity to support others, there are communities of people online who are likely attempting to form the same habit that you are. Below is a list of some general goal-setting sites along with some fitness goal-setting sites: General lifetick Joe’s Goals GoalsOnTrack 43Things Fitness MyFitnessPal – I wrote about this site extensively...

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How to Build Self-Discipline: Part 3 – Creating Habits that Last

As I described in parts one and two of this series, habits have an important role in the building of self-discipline. Creating habits provides two main benefits: Habits exercise our ability to choose. In other words, habits work our willpower muscles in much the same way as a marathon training program exercises our heart. The beginning of habit formation is intent; the end is consistent behavior. Habits automate our thinking and behavior. As we consistently act out our desired behavior, it becomes progressively easier, draining less of our limited reserves of willpower until it becomes second-nature to us. Now that we know how habits help us in our goal to build self-discipline, it’s time to look at a framework for creating habits that last. There are five...

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How to Build Self-Discipline: Part 2 – The Role of Habits

In my last post, I examined the concept of self-discipline and attempted to define it. To recap, I compared self-discipline to the heart, describing it as a muscle that is always present whether we are consciously aware of it or not. When we need to exercise that muscle, like when we make the choice between a cheeseburger and a salad, it springs into action. I also mentioned that self-discipline (in the form of willpower), like any muscle, is exhaustible and we only have limited supplies. I concluded that if we want to build self-discipline, we need to find a way to exercise our willpower. The best way to do that is  by creating habits. How do habits build self-discipline? Habits, when carefully chosen and systematically implemented, have two main...

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How to Build Self-Discipline: Part 1 – What is Self-Discipline?

Wouldn’t you rather be doing something else? Isn’t there a program you’d rather be watching on Netflix? A movie at the theater? Meanwhile, you have a deadline coming up and a lot of work to do before your project is done. How do you choose? It’s getting rather warm out. Wouldn’t you rather have an ice cream sandwich than a ripe apple? Meanwhile, you’re on diet, trying to lose some weight. You want to be comfortable at the beach without a shirt. How do you choose? Choosing between what you feel like doing now and the delayed gratification of reaching a goal sometime in the future requires self-discipline. It sounds like a simple thing, but as we all know it is much easier in theory than in practice. There are temptations all...

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Five Ways Exercise Improves Brain Function

As you can probably tell from my last post, I’ve been on a fitness kick lately. I’m trying to get my body into shape not only for the coming summer, but for the rest of my lifetime. Health is important to me. I want to feel good, look good, and live a long time. Who doesn’t want that? Sometimes, though, we overlook other ways in which exercise benefits us. Not only can consistent and vigorous exercise increase your muscle mass, enhance your metabolism, and help you lose weight, but it can also benefit your brain. Here are five ways that exercise helps your brain: Exercise increases grey matter. Whoa! You mean I can actually grow my brain? You can and you do. Studies conducted by Dr. Fred Gage at the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk...

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